Tuesday, 19 February 2019

This Is The Man In Charge

If there is one thing that frustrates me to no end when interviewing someone, it's when they avoid answering the questions asked. Yes, there are occasionally some tough questions that are asked, but you often get a good sense of the person's character depending on how one answers. Bob Nicholson, CEO of the Edmonton Oilers, was on CBC radio this morning in Edmonton with Mark Connolly, and I'm not sure that this interview portrays Nicholson in a positive light after Connolly asked a few tough questions.

If you recall, Nicholson was the man who brought in both Peter Chiarelli and Todd McLellan to the Oilers before relieving both of them of their duties this year. Nicholson has been guiding the Oilers from a business standpoint for the last few years, and Connolly asked him about some of the struggles that the Oilers have seen in recent years.

I won't go into detail about any of Nicholson's answers, but here is the audio of Mark Connolly interviewing Oilers CEO Bob Nicholson this morning on CBC radio's Edmonton AM.
That wordsmithing and tip-toeing is what most interviewers would categorize as "avoiding to give direct answers to direct questions". It's frustrating to hear because if anyone can restore hope in Oilers Nation, the man holding the CEO's office is the last vestige of where hope may be found. I'm not sure Bob Nicholson did anything to foster hope, let alone restore it.

Kudos to CBC's Mark Connolly for not being afraid of asking the tough question or going after Bob Nicholson with those questions. Some would worry about losing a possibility of a second appearance by Nicholson, but I commend Connolly for asking the questions that a lot of Oilers fans likely have.

If this franchise is ever going to find its way back to respectability, that has to start at the top. You haven't sold me that you have any sort of plan, Bob Nicholson. That's not a good start.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 18 February 2019

Well We All Shine On

Maybe John Lennon was right. In February 1970, John Lennon released the song Instant Karma! as a single on Apple Records after spending a year in Aalborg, Denamrk - home of the Metal Ligaen's Pirates, a favorite team of this blog - where the concept of "instant karma" was discussed by Lennon, Yoko Ono, Ono's former husband Tony Cox, and Cox's girlfriend, Melinde Kendall. It's funny how that phrase - "instant karma" - seems to pop up in hockey because the young man to the left may have just handed out some instant karma last night. That young man is St. Francis Xavier X-Men forward Sam Studnicka, and he earned the Subway Player of the Game nod in Game Three of the quarterfinal series against the Acadia Axemen.

With the game tied 1-1 midway through the second period, Studnicka found a loose puck in the slot, and he spun and fired it home past Acadia netminder Logan Flodell to put the X-Men up 2-1 - a lead they would not surrender as they went on to down Acadia 4-1 on home ice and advance to the AUS Semifinals against Saint Mary's after winning this series 2-1!

After everything that this young man has been through over the last couple of weeks and after all these two teams have been through over the last two weeks, it's almost poetic justice that Sam Studnicka would score the series-clinching goal to push StFX past Acadia. In a bit of a karmic twist, that was also Studnicka's first goal of these playoffs. It's almost as if this was meant to be.

Instant karma's gonna get you.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Rundown - Quarterfinals

There were only four teams in action this week as the Canada West Quarterfinals got underway in Vancouver and Saskatoon! The Regina Cougars headed to the left coast to play the UBC Thunderbirds while the Mount Royal Cougars went east to meet the Saskatchewan Huskies in best-of-three series to determine who would move on to play either Alberta or Manitoba next weekend. Results matter this week as two teams will see their seasons end, so let's get at it on The Rundown!

Friday night's game went in favour of just one team, and it wasn't the team who travelled. Emily Costales got things going for UBC at 5:50 of the first period, and Ashley McFadden made it 2-0 on the power-play at 16:12. The second period saw Madison Patrick make it 3-0 at 2:06, Emily Moore score the fourth UBC goal at 6:59 to end Morgan Baker's night, and Hannah Clayton-Carroll made it a 5-0 game by beating Jane Kish at 10:16. Through 30 minutes of hockey, UBC simply exerted their scoring will on Regina to jump out to a commanding lead.

In a game that featured only one minor penalty through the first 40 minutes of play, UBC was able to capitalize on that advantage. The tables turned in the third period, though, when UBC was assessed two minor infractions, but the T-Birds penalty kill units did their jobs effectively. Regina had a handful of chances in this game, but UBC was relentless in their attack and forechecking pressure, often hemming the Cougars in their own zone for minutes at a time. In the end, they were too much for Regina on this night as UBC took Game One by that 5-0 score. Tory Micklash made 17 stops for the win and shutout while Morgan Baker took the loss after stopping 13 of 17 shots in 26:59 of action. For the record, Jane Kish stopped 11 of 12 shots in relief.

Highlights are below!

After seeing UBC skate up and down the ice the night before, the second game in this series between UBC and Regina had an entirely different look as these two teams filled the penalty boxes all night. However, scoring wasn't limited by the parades to the sin bin.

Adela Juzkova took an early tripping penalty that gave UBC a power-play, and they converted when Mikayla Ogrodniczuk's point shot was tipped by Mathea Fischer past Jane Kish at 2:41, and the T-Birds had the 1-0 lead. They'd double their lead five minutes later when Hannah Clayton-Carroll recovered from a fall into the boards to regain possession of the puck and find Brielle Bellerive out front who went short side on Kish for the 2-0 lead at 7:10!

Regina needed to find some offence after surrendering seven-straight goals to UBC, and they finally cracked the goose egg just past the midway point of the period. While on the power-play, Tamara McVannel's point shot would be stopped by Tory Micklash, but Emma Waldenberger was in the right place to slide the rebound home at 12:11 as Regina cut the lead to 2-1! That score would hold through to the intermission.

The second period started with another Regina penalty, and UBC would make them pay just as they did in the first period. Mathea Fischer wired a shot through a screen in front of Kish for the power-play goal and the 3-1 lead, and that would prompt the Cougars to swap Kish for Morgan Baker. Just 40 seconds after the goal and goalie change, Hannah Koroll would welcome Baker to the game by lighting the lamp behind her, and Madison Patrick would find the twine off a long point shot that found the top of the net as Baker had traffic in front, and it was 5-1 at 5:11.

From there, things kind of went off the rails for Regina as they were whistled ten minor penalties and three game misconducts in the final 35 minutes of play. UBC, for their part, also took part in the penalty celebration with a handful of checks to the head and a roughing call, but the Cougars held a significant advantage when it came to time in the box. We wouldn't see any additional goals scored, but the key stat in this game was the 13 power-plays given to UBC compared to the five given to Regina.

When the dust settled on this one, UBC swept the Cougars in two games with a 5-1 victory. Tory Micklash stopped 14 of 15 shots she faced for her second win in these playoffs while Jane Kish was assessed the loss in stopping just one of the four shots she faced in her 22:19 of work. For the record, Morgan Baker stopped 18 of 20 shots she faced in relief.

Highlights are below!

Third-seeded UBC now advances to play second-seeded Manitoba in Winnipeg next weekend.

The series in Saskatoon showed all sorts of intrigue as these two teams had split the season series 2-2, and Mount Royal held a 14-12 advantage in goals through the four regular season games. Could Mount Royal win their first-ever Canada West playoff game? Could they do the unthinkable and upset the Canada West finalist from a year ago?

Unfortunately, the answers to both questions on Friday was no. Saskatchewan got goals from Morgan Willoughby at 7:12 in the first period, three second period goals that included a power-play goal from Nicole Fry at 7:33, an Emily Upgang marker at 9:15, and a power-play goal from Kayla Kirwan at 13:01, and a third period power-play goal from Bailee Bourassa at 13:57 to skate to the 5-0 win.

Saksatchewan's speed and skill was on display all night as they limited the Cougars to just six shots per period with very few being of the high-danger variety. In the end, Jessica Vance made all 18 saves for the win and shutout while Zoe De Beauville was credited with the loss as she stopped 17 of 21 shots in her 33:02 of work. Emma Pincott relieved De Beauville midway through the second, and she was good on 10 of 11 shots in her 26:58 of action.

Obligatory Huskies GIF? How about Nicole Fry on her first-career Canada West goal!

Game Two on Saturday was a do-or-die for the Mount Royal Cougars as a loss would send them home for another summer while a win would not only extend the series, but be historic in its own right as their first playoff win in Canada West. After being shutout and dominated for long stretches the night before, the pressure was on as the Huskies looked for the sweep!

Whatever head coach Scott Rivett said to his team prior to Game Two, the message was received as the Cougars looked like an entirely different team on this night. They stifled Saskatchewan breakouts and were quick on pucks in the neutral zone as they suffocated the home squad while playing with the last change. Anna Purschke would use the strong defence to pick up a puck in the neutral zone, get a step on a defender, and fire one that went under the bar past Jessica Vance on the glove-side that seemed to surprise the netminder to put the Cougars up 1-0 at 13:22! I might add that Purschke's shot was the first that Vance had seen in the game, so she may have been a little cold on that rocket from Purschke, but it counts all the same!

That same suffocating defensive approach by the Cougars was employed in the second period, but Saksatchewan did have a couple of good chances. However, the goaltending of Zoe De Beauville was solid as she bounced back from her outing one night before where she was pulled in the second period. Through two periods of play, Mount Royal held the 1-0 lead, but found themselves being outshot badly in a 16-7 ratio.

Early in the third period, Daria O'Neill hit Tianna Ko with a pass behind the net, and Ko spotted Breanne Trotter out front where she one-timed the feed from Ko past Vance to put the Cougars up 2-0 at 3:39! The Huskies began taking a few more chances offensively as they trailed by two goals, and they found chances only to be denied entirely by De Beauville. Late in the game, the Cougars would ice the game when O'Neill's blast on the power-play from the point was tipped in front by Jayden Thorpe and past Vance at 18:24, and that would be all Mount Royal needed for their first-ever playoff win and, more importantly, a 3-0 win to even the series at 1-1! Zoe De Beauville stopped all 19 shots she faced for her first-career playoff win and her first-career playoff shutout while Jessica Vance was on the losing end of a nine-save performance.

Here are your highlights!

Who's ready for a little Sunday evening hockey? If you had said either the Mount Royal Cougars or the Saskatchewan Huskies, you'd be right because this series ended in a way only these two evenly-matched teams could play. Hold on for this one, folks - it was an incredible night of puck!

The first period was all about limiting chances as neither side allowed many chances. Both Zoe De Beauville and Jessica Vance stood their ground in keeping the opposition off the board. Mount Royal was called for a penalty, but they would kill that off. At the end of 20 minutes, it was still 0-0 with Saskatchewan leading in shots 8-5.

Early in the second period, the Huskies found the back of the net after controlling the puck in the Mount Royal zone for some time. Emily Upgang and Brooklyn Haubrich won a puck battle in behind the Cougars' net, sending the puck into the slot where Bailee Bourassa wired it home past De Beauville for the 1-0 Huskies lead at 1:53! The rest of the period was played more like the first period as both teams clamped down in the defensive zone, and after 40 minutes the Huskies held the 1-0 lead and a 17-11 edge in shots.

Saskatchewan came out and looked to double their lead as they pressed, but Mount Royal continued to repel the opportunities. After killing off a penalty, the Cougars went to the power-play when Saskatchewan's Jordyn Holmes was called for hooking. The momentum built off the penalty kill carried over as the Cougars moved the puck well. The Huskies penalty had just expired when Tatum Amy's wrist shot from the point found a path through traffic and past Vance into the back of the net at 17:01 to tie the game at 1-1!

When the final horn sounded, the game remained deadlocked at 1-1, so it was time for the most exciting hockey of the season as Game Three went to overtime with the next goal guaranteeing advancement!

The first overtime period saw Saskatchewan dominate the ten-minute period as they outshot Mount Royal 7-1, but there would be no goals scored. We'd move to the 20-minute double-overtime period where Saskatchewan continued to pepper Mount Royal with shots, outshooting the Cougars 13-3 in this period, but the Cougars would not allow the Huskies to score. The third overtime period saw more Saskatchewan pressure as they outshot Mount Royal 34-10 in the free hockey, but it would be the 34th shot in overtime and 60th of the night for the Huskies that was the difference!
Shyan Elias forced the turnover in the Mount Royal zone, and her pass found Rachel Lundberg who one-timed the puck past Zoe De Beauville with 10.7 seconds to play in the game for the 2-1 triple-overtime victory! Saskatchewan wins 2-1 in the game and 2-1 in the series! Jessica Vance stopped 24 shots in 109:50 of work for the victory while Zoe De Beauville made 58 stops in the triple-overtime loss.

Fourth-seeded Saskatchewan now advances to play first-seeded Alberta in Edmonton next weekend.

While technically not standings, here are your Canada West Semifinal series with game times for each game shown.
While I can't speak for Alberta's coverage of their series, I can tell you that the Manitoba-UBC series will be broadcast live and for free on 101.5 UMFM and on UMFM.com. Pre-game show will start 30 minutes before puck drop, so tune in for free via the radio or internet stream for all the action!

The Last Word

There isn't a lot to report on in the first five games of the Canada West playoffs, but there some stats that stick out for the two teams that advanced.

First, the Saskatchewan power-play was 3/10 against Mount Royal, accounting for 3/7 goals scored in the series. UBC's power-play was 3/14 in their series against Regina, accounting for 3/10 goals scored in the series. Both teams used strong power-plays to help them advance, and both Alberta and Manitoba will need to be cognizant of this as they open their series.

On the flip side, Saskatchewan killed 4/5 penalties against Mount Royal, so Alberta will need to work hard in both forcing the Huskies to take penalties and then on the power-play where the Saskatchewan penalty killers are doing their parts. UBC's penalty killers were successful on 6/7 penalties they took, so Manitoba's power-play will have to be at the top of its game in order to win the special teams battle.

I expect some close games as Saskatchewan was 1-3-0 against Alberta, but was outscored just 6-2 in the four games. Saskatchewan is 1-7-0-0 in the last five seasons at Clare Drake Arena, so Alberta's dominance at home is well-documented. However, Alberta was just 1/15 on the power-play against Saskatchewan this season, so it will likely be five-on-five play that determined who wins this series. Alberta has outshot their opponents in 27 of 28 games this season, going 23-4-0 in those games so Saskatchewan will either need to weather that storm and look for opportunities or they'll need to bring every ounce of offence they have in their bag of tricks for every minute of play as Alberta did lose the one game where they were outshot this season. On the road, Saskatchewan was just 6-7-0-1 this season while Alberta posted the best record in the conference at home with a 13-1-0-0 while surrendering just seven goals in those 14 games.

UBC went 2-0-2 in their games against Manitoba this season, and both teams scored nine goals against each other. These two teams might be the most evenly-matched squads in the playoffs with Manitoba holding a slight 4-3-0-1 edge over UBC at home in the regular season over the last five seasons. The key difference in this series is that Manitoba was 0/11 on the power-play against UBC this season while UBC was good on 4/13 power-play opportunities against the Bisons. If Manitoba gets into penalty trouble, that could be the break that the Thunderbirds can use to win the series. UBC was 9-2-2-1 on the road this season where they surrendered just 19 goals while Manitoba was 10-1-2-1 on Wayne Fleming Arena ice this season while scoring a conference-high 45 goals at home.

Canada West playoff hockey continues next weekend so catch the action!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

TBC: Grant Fuhr

Thanks to my cat waking me up this morning at a rather ridiculous hour, I had some extra hands on my time today and I was determined to put it to good use. As I sipped a warm cup of coffee with her purring silently as she slept beside me, I finished off some reading that I has started before this busy February began. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend, written by Grant Fuhr and Bruce Dowbiggin and published by Vintage Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. I thought I knew about Grant Fuhr before reading this, but I now feel that I have a better understanding of who Grant Fuhr is, why he was a good as he was, and what caused his career to be seemingly shorter than it should have been.

From the biography on the Penguin Random House website, "Grant Fuhr was the Hall of Fame goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers, and the first black superstar in the National Hockey League. He is now a role model and fundraiser for charity, inspiring young goalies around the world. Fuhr plays golf at the professional level on the pro Stars Tour, starring with ex-professional athletes who benefit charities by their activities." I'm not sure why they didn't include that he is a five-time Stanley Cup winner, a Vezina Trophy winner, a Canada Cup winner, and played 19 NHL seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Buffalo Sabres, the Los Angeles Kings, the St. Louis Blues, and the Calgary Flames.

Also from the Penguin Random House website, "Bruce Dowbiggin has covered hockey for the CBC (where he won two Gemini awards as Canada's top sportscaster), the Calgary Herald, and The Globe and Mail, and is the author of several bestselling hockey books. He lives in Calgary, Alberta." He has written The Meaning of Puck which was reviewed here on HBIC along with Money Players which continually appears on my list of books I want to read. He was also part of CBC's team for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Games and was part of radio coverage for the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games.

I thought I knew about Grant Fuhr's career before picking up Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend. Yes, he was part of the Oilers dynasty that won five Stanley Cups. Yes, he won a Vezina Trophy. Yes, he was traded a few times before landing in St. Louis where it seemed like Mike Keenan discovered a fountain of youth that let Fuhr play every game for the Blues. I knew he finished his career with the Flames, but I had no idea about everything else that went on behind the scenes in Fuhr's career that made him the man he is today.

Fuhr grew up as an adopted child to parents who were Caucasian in Spruce Grove, Alberta along with his sister, Debbie. He was a solid baseball player, but the sport of hockey drew him in at the tender age of seven when he proclaimed to his parents that he was going to be a goaltender in the NHL. Terry Sawchuk and Johnny Bower were his idols thanks to Hockey Night in Canada, and Grant's athletic abilities as a child combined with emulating his idols made him the talk of the town in Spruce Grove as a young goalie.

As he got older, more and more people began talking about Grant Fuhr's skill between the pipes. It attracted a man named Kenny Larue, a scout of the WHL's Victoria Cougars, who noticed his lightning-quick glove hand and his athleticism. By age 17, Fuhr had dropped out of school as he was a full-time member of the Cougars! To reinforce his decision to stick with hockey, Fuhr won the WHL's Rookie of the Year award in 1979-80, and that put him in the talk of a possible NHL job!

The eighth-overall pick in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft belonged to the Oilers, and despite having names like James Patrick, Al MacInnis, and Tony Tanti still on the board, GM Glen Sather opted for Grant Fuhr which surprised many after Andy Moog had seemingly claimed the starting goalie position in Edmonton. Nevertheless, Fuhr joined the Oilers, platooned with Moog, and the Oilers had the two men who would backstop them to a decade of greatness in the 1980s.

Along the way, Grant faced the usual hockey problems like hot streaks and cold streaks, bad play, mental hurdles to overcome, and more, but there were some significant challenges he faced as well. Racism was more prevalent when the Oilers traveled to the US, and Fuhr learned to deal with the hurtful comments some would make. He wasn't great with money as a young NHLer, and that dealt him some difficulties. He had kids, he went through divorces, there were contract disputes, and he endured trades that saw him move or friends and teammates move. But perhaps the biggest challenge he faced was his admission of using cocaine and his suspension from the NHL from it due to the negative publicity that came with it. Fuhr, however, endured all of this and came out stronger.

One of these problems was a contract dispute that Fuhr was having the Glen Sather while in Edmonton. For those hockey fans who never want to see ads on jerseys, it seems that agent Ritch Winter had a rather unique idea to get his client a few additional dollars per season in 1989-90.
As a means of expanding Grant's income, Winter had come up with a novel plan to have Grant wear the Pepsi-Cola logo on his goal pads in 1989-90. It was a creative idea, but one that faced a huge roadblock. The NHL did not allow (and still does not allow) individual players to promote products on their uniforms. Winter felt that if the Oilers could not afford to pay Grant his market value, they should at least fight to have an exemption made that would allow Fuhr to make up the difference.
Details like this are littered throughout Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend, and it was enlightening to read through some of the stuff that may be lesser known about the Hall of Fame goaltender. The book itself is split into ten chapters that highlight the ten most important games in his career, so it's easy to work through the 198 pages by chapter if you need to put the book down. What makes this book better is that throughout each chapter, there are comments from Fuhr about the topics discussed that provide even greater insight about the topics.

Overall, I found Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend to be an enjoyable read. It wasn't filled with statistics or long-winded, complicated explanations of complex goaltending tactics, but rather it was the story of a boy from Spurce Grove who made mistakes, found success, and ultimately was recognized for his efforts at the professional level of hockey. Readers will learn that Grant Fuhr is a lot like anyone else in that he has flaws, has passions, and is trying to figure out life, only he played pro hockey while doing all of that. Because of this refreshing read about one of the game's best, it's easy to make Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend a recipient of the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend can be found at most libraries and bookstores. It's a pretty tame read when it comes to language, but there is a chapter about Fuhr's admission of his drug use. While I wouldn't say this book is good for kids, teens and older should find Grant Fuhr: The Story of a Hockey Legend to be a good read!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 15 February 2019

Season Of The Goalie Goal

There may not be as many people that know of the GOJHL - the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League - as much as they know the NCAA, the KHL, the AHL, the WHL, or the USHL, but all six of these leagues have something in common aside from being developmental leagues for higher-level hockey. I guess the KHL isn't truly a developmental league in the truest sense of the word, but you get what I mean. In any case, the GOJHL might have seen one of the strangest scenes in hockey tonight, and the end result was another goal for a goaltender.

In a game tonight against the Komoka Kings, the Kings did a rather unusual thing - they pulled their goalie in double-overtime! In looking at the standings, Kokoma is sitting in sixth-place with a playoff spot already guaranteed, and they were looking to make up ground on fifth-place LaSalle late in the season for a better playoff match-up. With nothing to lose, the coaches of Kokoma decided to go for broke by playing the 3-on-3 overtime period without a netminder to try and get an advantage.

It should be noted that in the GOJHL, there is no shootout at the end of overtime. Rather, if the two teams are tied through the 3-on-3 overtime period, both teams end the game with a point. Kokoma is running out of track when it comes to games remaining, so they gambled. And they lost both the gamble and the game.

Why is this news? With the game tied 0-0 in the second overtime period and with Kokoma running four players out there, Sarnia-born goaltender Anthony Hurtubise did the unthinkable.
Hurtubise had the presence of mind to make the glove save, drop it to his stick with traffic incoming, and loft it down the ice into the yawning cage with 1:13 left in double-overtime for the game-winning goal! On top of that, he also records the 27-save shutout of Kokoma as the netminder had himself the best night that any goalie likely could have statistically!

That's the sixth goal captured on video this year by a goaltender as Hurtubise joins Tristan Jarry of the AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins who scored on November 14, Ian Scott of the WHL's Prince Albert Raiders who scored on November 16, Atte Tolvanen of the NCAA's Northern Michigan University Wildcats who scored on December 7, and Roman Durny of the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers who scored on December 18, and Jon Ortio of the KHL's Vityaz Moscow who netted his own empty-netter on January 30.

If NHL teams are looking for unlikely offence as they near the trade deadline, they want to look for that offence from their own crease with how often goalies are scoring this season!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 14 February 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 334

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is proud to welcome three players who represent the only team in the playoffs currently at the University of Manitoba. While I have never been accused of having too many women on the show, it's hard not to look around and see how good not only the women at the University of Manitoba are when it comes to hockey, but across this great nation as we have all sorts of women's hockey happening. The Rivalry Series continues tonight between Canada and the US, but Beans and I have a number of questions for these three graduating players before we even start talking about the women representing the country!

The three amazing women you see tonight are scheduled to stop by the studio for some hockey talk as Beans and I welcome, from left to right, Karissa Kirkup, Lauryn Keen, and Alexandra Anderson to the show! For the first time in the show's history, we'll be able to welcome Keen and Anderson as they've both avoided us for the majority of their careers, but it will be great getting them on the air tonight to talk about their careers, the Bisons' season thus far, possibly returning to the U SPORTS National Championship, and more when it comes to Bisons stuff. We'll also discuss Kendall Coyne Schofield and the NHL Skills Competition, the Assiniboine Park Polar Bears and their bid for the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup that will benefit Siloam Mission where the Bisons volunteer, if the women noticed a difference in the Pronghorns after Michelle Janus was replaced by Parry Shocker, and their thoughts on Tuesday night's clash between Canada and the US! It should be a great show, so make sure you've tuned in at 5:30pm!

Update: Anderson missed the show. We have a search party out for her!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans introduce you to Lauryn Keen and Alexandra Anderson while welcoming back Karissa Kirkup as the quintet discuss the Bisons' season and playoffs, getting to Charlottetown, women at the Skills Competition, good deeds and charity, the changes in the Pronghorns, US and Canada, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: February 14, 2019: Episode 334

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

We Aren't Done Yet

I'm not going to say this was unexpected, but it appears that St. Francis Xavier University isn't quite done with the sanctions handed down by the AUS yesterday. As stated in the ruling yesterday, StFX head coach Brad Peddle was suspended 8 additional games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed. I had a feeling that StFX might appeal that suspension since I'm pretty sure that Peddle had tried to prevent the brawl from even happening after reporting the comments made by Acadia's Rodney Southam to the on-ice officials, but the AUS ruled that the coaches needed to have better control of their respective benches and levied the same heavy punishment on the two coaches.

Today, Leo MacPherson, director of athletics and recreation at StFX, released a statement that indicated that StFX would be appealing the suspension. In it, MacPherson writes, "The severity of the sanction fails to consider the historical context and the larger issue that ultimately triggered the event."

The statement went on to read, "Coach Peddle and Mr. Studnicka have provided clear statements as to what has occurred dating back to the 2016-17 season, including the fact that this issue has been brought to the attention of the Acadia Athletics program in the past. We believe the events of Feb. 2 were completely avoidable."

While the suspension will be in effect tonight as StFX prepares to host Acadia in their best-of-three quarterfinal series, the issue becomes larger when one considers that the 10 games handed out to Peddle will affect him into next season regardless of how this season finishes. I can understand StFX's concern regarding this, especially if they are eliminated in two straight games this week.

I have no idea when this appeal would take place based on the fact that the playoff series between the two teams starts tonight, but it seems that this incident simply can't be laid to rest. The suspensions were harsh when it came to the coaches, but the AUS made it very clear that they weren't happy with the actions - or lack thereof - of the coaches in keeping some sort of peace.

"The bench side of things could have been handled much better," AUS executive director Phil Currie said in an interview with CBC News yesterday. "You know we expect that in our regulations in terms of coaches' conduct and how they handle these situations."

Whatever the next steps are, you can be certain that StFX will be pushing for an appeal hearing as soon as possible to try and get their head coach back behind the bench for these playoffs or even this series. I'm not sure the AUS operates at that speed, but I'll say this: I kind of side with StFX here when you consider what happened before the brawl in Peddle's actions in trying to prevent things from getting worse after what Southam said to Studnicka.

We'll see what the AUS thinks when they finally hear the appeal.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Details Emerge On The Melee

If you were listening to the first half of The Hockey Show last week or happened to read this blog, you know that the bench-clearing brawl that happened in the AUS between the Acadia Axemen and the St. Francis-Xavier X-Men was a topic. I wrote a piece about the incident, but details have emerged today after the AUS wrapped up their investigation into the matter that also prompted that to hand out more punishment to several people involved. With this new information, I feel that the AUS, which correct in assessing more punishment, may have missed an opportunity to send a clear message to its student-athletes and staff of the schools participating in the conference.

If we go back a week ago, you'll recall that there were mandatory suspensions handed out to both teams' players for their involvement in the altercation. In total, six Acadia players and nine from the X-Men as well as both head coaches racked up 39 games in suspensions in total with suspensions ranging between two to five games. Aaron Hoyles from StFX received five games as the maximum suspension from that school while Acadia's Cole Reginato received a four-game break from action for his role in the brawl.

The AUS had promised that they would issue more suspensions "due to the seriousness of the allegations" in which StFX's Sam Studnicka was the recipient of an insult that apparently inferred some sort of terminology regarding sexual assault from Acadia's Rodney Southam. None of what Southam said was disclosed at the time, but Southam did admit following the game that he had made a comment towards Studnicka that sparked the brawl. Acadia's statement a few days later all but confirmed that Southam's comments were not only what set off the powder keg, but he had admitted to trying to apologize for making the comment.

Today, the details and new punishments were revealed by the AUS. They are as follows:
  • Acadia head coach Darren Burns was suspended 8 additional games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • Acadia assistant coach Kris MacDonald was suspended 2 games, and has already served that suspension by not being behind the bench for the team's final two regular season games.
  • Acadia defenceman TJ Fergus was suspended 3 games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • Acadia defenceman Loch Morrison was suspended 5 games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • Acadia forward Rodney Southam was suspended 5 games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • StFX head coach Brad Peddle was suspended 8 additional games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • StFX assistant coach Dave Stewart was suspended 1 game, and has already served that suspension by not being behind the bench for the team's final two regular season games.
  • StFX defenceman Aaron Hoyles was suspended 2 games on top of the 5-game suspension he was originally assessed.
  • StFX forward Mark Tremaine was suspended for 2 games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed.
It's pretty clear that a number of the men above will not only miss the quarterfinal series between StFX and Acadia with these new sanctions, but will miss the entire playoffs altogether. Both coaches were singled out by AUS, and AUS executive director Phil Currie made a direct reference to the coaches for their actions and, ultimately, lack of action in contributing to the brawl.

"The bench side of things could have been handled much better," Currie said in an interview with CBC News. "You know we expect that in our regulations in terms of coaches' conduct and how they handle these situations."

If you note the list above, Southam was given some extended time off, and the details of his part in this were also revealed last week when he admitted saying to Studnicka, "You look like a little rapist," which prompted Studnicka to pummel Southam and the StFX bench to respond as they did. Southam also stated that he was unaware that Studnicka has a sexual assault survivor in his family.

And that's where the facts end and my opinion begins because what Southam said to Studnicka is not only despicable, but shows that he has zero recognition for the gravity of that statement even after Southam had been falsely accused of sexual assault when he played junior hockey in Western Canada! The fact that Southam showed that he has zero thought-process between his brain and his mouth while on the ice is why giving Southam a seven-game suspension for this abhorrent comment misses the mark entirely in my opinion.

While I don't condone Studnicka's reaction to the comment, I also am not surprised by his reaction and I find that the AUS excusing him from further punishment to be rather refreshing considering that most of these decisions are based on public image and not on the impact it has on the people involved. This is clearly a topic that is close to Studnicka's heart based on his reaction, and I don't blame him for reacting angrily towards Southam after his comments. I would hope that this is the last time Studnicka has to hear anything like this in his life, but that's why I believe that Southam's admitted actions should have garnered him a more lengthy suspension.

If there is one person from Acadia University worthy of a little redemption in all of this, it might be Kevin Dickie, Acadia's executive director of athletics, who seems to understand the bigger picture here and how it affects not only Studnicka, but everyone involved from the two schools as well as Studnicka's family. He told CBC News, "Our student-athlete and all of those associated from Acadia Athletics, regret and continue to be very apologetic for what was said and how it affected another student-athlete and his family."

In the end, the AUS followed through on its promise to issue more punishments, so it can at least be held to its word. While I still believe the AUS could have come down harder on Southam and Acadia University as a whole, especially after that idiotic statement they released last Weednesday, the fact that a few people had their seasons ended early this year is a stark reminder that words have power, both good and bad. Let this lesson not go forgotten the next time you're thinking of delivering a chirp to end all chirps because the consequences could be - and should be, in this case - far more dire than the seven-game suspension that Rodney Southam received.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 11 February 2019

Beyond Dumb

I spent a long day at work today. I really needed something to let my brain unwind, and I happened across a hockey game featuring two rivals who hate one another in the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. This kind of rivalry between the two state-wide teams is one that always seems to bring the best out in both teams, so I settled in for what seemed like fun. And it was fun, but it also turned ugly late when Evgeni Malkin's brain decided to hit the showers early.

With the Penguins leading 3-0, with Matt Murray playing like he was a magnet for pucks, with the Penguins on the verge of defeating the Flyers, Evgeni Malkin was being bothered by Michael Raffl and responded by doing this.
After I let out an audible sigh, I began writing this piece because we're all taught from an early age in this game that one cannot swing one's stick at an opponent for any reason, let alone swinging it wildly towards an opponent's head. That simply cannot happen, and Malkin will be punished beyond the five-minute major penalty and the game misconduct he received tonight. How much punishment he will receive will likely be determined by the Department of Player Safety tomorrow.

Malkin has played 13 seasons in the NHL and 17 seasons professionally if you include his time with Magnitogorsk in Russia. He's won Stanley Cups, he's been an impact player, he's an alternate captain, he's been an All-Star, and he's generally seen as a player who can take over a game if given the opportunity. In other words, he's better than this. More importantly, he's smarter than this. But he'll hurt his team by sitting for at least a game after this reckless swinging of his stick that somehow avoided hitting Raffl in a serious way.

Malkin is better than this. He needs to be.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Rundown - Week 14

There would be no talk of playoff races this week as the six teams playing in this year's Canada West Conference playoffs were already set last week. Yes, there were still opportunities to improve one's standing when it came to playoff placements, but the sextet of Alberta, Manitoba, UBC, Saskatchewan, Regina, and Mount Royal would be our playoff competitors this season. Who finishes where? That's what we'll find out in this week's edition of The Rundown!

FRIDAY: The math was simple for this series as Alberta just needed three points to clinch first-place and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. Calgary, meanwhile, were looking to thwart Alberta's success as they had been eliminated last week. Kira Wasylak got the start for the Dinos while Kirsten Chamberlin took the crease for the Pandas.

All it took was 86 seconds for the scoring to start in this one. Kelsey Tangjerd stuffed a puck underneath Wasylak after she made the initial stop on Alex Gowie who drove the net, and the Pandas grabbed the 1-0 lead just 1:26 into this game. From there, Wasylak put on a clinic as she stopped 15 Alberta shots in the frame, but it would remain 1-0 for the Pandas through the opening 20 minutes of play as they couldn't find a way to beat the Calgary netminder despite having a number of glorious chances.

Chamberlin and Wasylak would continue their run of stopping everything that came their way until late in the middle frame. Off a rebound that came out in front, Holly Reuther's initial shot hit a body, but she recovered the puck and snapped a puck past Chamberlin on Calgary's ninth shot of the game as they tied the contest at 1-1 at 16:03! Three minutes later, though, Alex Poznikoff was wide-open behind the net, and she saucered a pass out front after drawing a defender to her that Kennedy Ganser one-timed past Wasylak at 18:53 to restore the one-goal lead for the Pandas!

The third period saw Alberta lock down their zone as Calgary struggled to gain zone entries with possession or recoveries on dump-ins. The few chances that they did get were handled easily by Chamberlin. Any chance of a comeback on this night came to a screeching halt when Amy Boucher scored on the empty net with 16 seconds to go, and Alberta could take solace in this 3-1 victory as they claimed home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs and first-place in the Canada West Conference for 2018-19! Kirsten Chamberlin stopped 12 shots to pick up her tenth win of the season while Kira Wasylak deserved a better fate after stopping 33 shots.

Highlights of this game are below!

SATURDAY: With the second-half of the home-and-home set to go in Calgary and both teams knowing where they finish, this game seemed a little anti-climatic other than honouring the graduating senior players for the Dinos. That being said, there was still pride on the line and both teams were looking to send the season with a victory! Kirsten Chamberlin got the rare back-to-back start for the Pandas while Kelsey Roberts was back in net at home.

Calgary and Alberta began this game going up and down the ice as both teams played at a high tempo. Alberta did get more shots, but Calgary had their opportunities as well. Unfortunately for the Dinos, a pair of penalties to Sara Craven and Merissa Dawson gave the Pandas the chance they needed as Taylor Kezama's shot from the point went high over a screened Roberts' right shoulder at 14:07 to give Alberta the 1-0 lead on that 5-on-3 advantage. Alberta would lead after one period by that single power-play goal.

Alberta exerted their dominance in the second period, hemming the Dinos in their own zone for long stretches thanks to the long change. That would pay off early as Carley Wlad went to the box for a trip, and the Pandas would capitalize once again. Off the ensuing face-off, Autumn MacDougall fed Alex Poznikoff, and the sniper made no mistake in ripping one past Roberts for the 2-0 lead! The teams would trade power-plays later in the period, but it was clear that Alberta was content playing this period in the Calgary zone as they spent the majority of the period there. After outshooting the Dinos 11-1 in the frame, the Pandas went to the third period holding the 2-0 edge!

Again, Alberta was dominant in the third period, outshooting the Dinos 7-3. They put a wall up along their blue line while controlling the puck for the majority of the period thanks to a pair of power-plays. While they weren't concerned with adding more, it wouldn't have mattered as Alberta skated to the 2-0 victory! Kirsten Chamberlin was perfect on 11 shots for her 11th win and sixth shutout of the season while Roberts did all she could in the loss, making 28 saves on the day.

FRIDAY: Manitoba needed some help on this night as they had to win and Calgary had to keep Alberta to two points or less if they wanted a shot at first-overall. Saskatchewan wasn't moving out of fourth-place, so they were looking to derail Manitoba's plans in trying to catch Alberta. Jessica Vance took the crease for the home side while the Bisons turned to Lauren Taraschuk.

The Bisons appeared to have some good fortune in this game as they found themselves on a 5-on-3 advantage early, but Vance and the Huskies penalty-killers did some outstanding work to keep the Bisons' top-ranked power-play off the board. They would finally get to Vance later in the period, though, as Sheridan Oswald fed Jody Zacharias for the one-timer, and her blast went off the post and behind Vance for the 1-0 lead at 11:55! However, the Huskies would tie the game late in the period when Emily Upgang was in perfect position to deflect Brooklyn Haubrich's point shot past Taraschuk with 25 seconds in the period, and we'd go to the intermission tied 1-1!

The second period was played mostly in the neutral zone with Saskatchewan finding the net with their shots more often, but there weren't a lot of great scoring chances. Taraschuk did have to be sharp on a power-play midway through the frame, but the Bisons would kill that infraction off. At the end of two periods, it was still 1-1 with Saskatchewan leading 21-11 in shots.

Just 34 seconds into the third period with a couple of players battling in front, Alexandra Anderson wristed a shot high on the blocker side of Vance that went over her shoulder and in to put Manitoba up 2-1! Saskatchewan kept coming after that as they poured on the pressure, but the Manitoba defence would not break. Even with Vance on the bench, they couldn't find the back of the net as the Bisons escaped the storm with the 2-1 victory! Taraschuk deserved the credit tonight in making 31 saves for her 17th win this season while Vance suffered the loss in an 11-save effort.

SATURDAY: After finding out that the Pandas had won their game, Manitoba knew they could not attain the first-overall position thanks to the tie-breaker rules. In knowing that, head coach Sean Fisher played the rookies tonight as a few of the regulars got the night off. Saskatchewan, however, was looking to finish strong as they iced their full crew. Jessica Vance was back in the Huskies' net while Erin Fargey got the start for Manitoba!

Both netminders looked good early on as the pace was high to start this game as both the Bisons and Huskies got the offences rolling. It would be a power-play in the latter half of the period that allowed the Huskies to grab control of the game as Brooklyn Haubrich's shot was stopped by Fargey, but Kennedy Brown was on the doorstep to deposit the rebound at 16:24 to put Saskatchewan up 1-0. That score would hold through the intermission.

The second period would be more of the same as Saskatchewan controlled the possession part of the period. That would work well for them when Abby Shirley forced a turnover who cycled the puck to Morgan Willoughby, and the defender's wrist shot beat Fargey at 9:13 to put the Huskies up 2-0! Manitoba would respond on the power-play five minutes later when Alanna Sharman's initial shot was stopped by Vance, but Jordy Zacharias poked the loose puck that sneaked its way through Vance pads into the cage at 14:16 to cut the deficit to one goal. That 2-1 lead would hold into the break as Saskatchewan held a whopping 24-10 margin in shots.

The third period saw the two netminders put up walls as neither team could find the back of the net including a one-timer from Alison Sexton on a 2-on-none that Vance turned aside. With Fargey on the bench late and the Bisons pressing, the Huskies played well enough to run out the clock as they claimed the 2-1 win! Jessica Vance made 18 stops for her 12th win this season while Erin Fargey played extremely well in the loss, making 27 stops on the night.

FRIDAY: UBC knew they were finishing in third-place, so they were playing for pride. Regina, however, needed three points to claim fifth-place in the conference as they owned the tie-breaker over Mount Royal, so they had to find a way to take three of six points of UBC. Tory Micklash was in the UBC net while Jane Kish got the nod for Regina.

The key in this game for UBC was special teams lead by Hannah Clayton-Carroll while Ireland Perrott took care of the even-strength goal scoring. Yes, this game did not go well for Jane Kish and the Regina Cougars.

The first period saw Ireland Perrott cashed in a rebound at 9:18.
That goal was followed by Hannah Clayton-Carroll scoring on a rebound on the power-play at 12:20 of the first period as UBC was off and running with a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

Elise Endicott would tipped home a Shaelyn Vallotton point shot at 12:10 of the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1, but the two-goal lead would be restored at 17:22 when Clayton-Carroll chipped home her own rebound on the power-play to make it 3-1 through 40 minutes.

The third period saw the bottom fall out on Regina as Clayton-Carroll notched the hat trick off a great feed from Mathea Fischer while on the power-play at 9:35.
41 seconds later, Ireland Perrott scored her second of the game when she converted a feed from Jadeon Cooke to make it 5-1 for the T-Birds. And 1:49 after that, Emily Costales deflected in a Logan Boyd feed on the power-play to make it 6-1. Micklash took care of the rest as the Thunderbirds routed the Cougars on this night by a 6-1 score. Tory Micklash made 15 saves for her 13th win of the season while Jane Kish was victimized for all six goals, but still made 22 stops.

SATURDAY: The two teams reconvened on Saturday afternoon as Regina still had a chance at claiming those three points needed to lock down fifth-place. After the UBC skated all over the Cougars the night before, would there be a response? Amelia Boughn got the start for UBC while Morgan Baker was sent to the Regina net.

The first period was a lot like Friday's third period as UBC imposed their will in this frame. Despite throwing 14 shots at Baker, the Regina netminder was good on all attempts as she helped Regina kill off two penalties. At the other end, Regina had a few opportunities to take the lead, but Boughn was just as good as Baker on all attempts. Through one period, the teams remained tied at 0-0 with UBC ahead 14-8 in shots.

The second period? More of the same from the first period. Regina was called for an early penalty and UBC was called for a late penalty in this period, but neither power-play found the twine. This period was far more even as Regina seemed to find their legs, but the 0-0 score remained in tact with UBC leading in shots 25-17.

This game would continue to be a showcase for the netminders as the teams traded power-play chances in the third period, but a four-minute double-minor penalty to Chelsea Hallson along with a two-minute penalty for holding to Rylind MacKinnon put UBC on the power-play a couple of minutes before the midpoint of the period. UBC would take advantage on the ensuing power-play as LOgan Boyd's initial shot was stopped by Baker, but the rebound was potted by Ireland Perrott put UBC out in front 1-0 at 8:43! The Cougars would ring one off the iron on their final power-play of the day, but that's as close as they got as the Thunderbirds locked down the 1-0 win! Amelia Boughn was perfect on all 22 shots she faced for her fifth win and third shutout of the season while Morgan Baker deserved better than what she got after making 41 stops in this one.

FRIDAY: Mount Royal came into this weekend needing at least four of six points and a little help from UBC if they were going to finish in fifth-place - their highest finish ever - in Canada West. Lethbridge was playing for pride, but they had a chance to really disrupt Cougars' plans with any sort of win on this night. Knowing they needed their best, Zoe De Beauville got the start for MRU while Lethbridge sent Jessica Lohues out to guard their net in her final regular season game as a graduating player.

Both teams came out in this one looking to establish their games early, but the goalies stood their ground. It would be Mount Royal who would strike first when Morgan Ramsey sent Camryn Amundson in alone, and Amundson broke in off the right wing and went high over Lohues' glove into to the far-side top corner to put Mount Royal up 1-0 at 9:03! The remainder of the period would see the two sides tighten things up, and we'd head to the second period with the Cougars in front on the scoreboard and holding a 10-6 edge in shots.

The second period was a track meet to start with both teams setting a manic pace to the frame, but very few shots were seen due to this up-and-down play. It would be MRU who capitalized from this style of play, though, as Kianna To forced a turnover in the Pronghorns' zone and snapped a shot past Lohues at 8:57 to give Mount Royal a 2-0 lead! Lethbridge began driving the net hard following Ko's goal as they looked to chip at the lead, but all they'd find is the wall of De Beauville as this game moved to the third period with the Cougars up by a pair!

Lethbridge would apply serious pressure in the early-going of the third period, but all they found were more stops made by De Beauville. A late penalty to Mount Royal seemed like the advantage that Lethbridge needed, but the Cougars withstood the Pronghorns' attack even with the home side going 6-on-4. At the final horn, the Mount Royal Cougars helped themselves with a 2-0 victory! Zoe De Beauville picked up her tenth win and second shutout of the season in a 23-save performance while Jessica Lohues suffered the loss after making 19 saves.

SATURDAY:The second half of the home-and-home went from Flames Community Arena as Mount Royal honoured their graduating class. Mount Royal needed to earn more points than Regina today as the MRU Cougars and Regina Cougars were tied in the standings, but Regina held the tie-breaker. With the Cougars scoreboard-watching between UBC and Regina, they hit the ice with graduating player Emma Pincott in net while Lethbridge let Jessica Lohues have one last start in her career.

To say this one was wild would be an understatement. Just 1:57 into this one, Lethbridge's Katelyn Brietkreuz made an incredible toe-drag out of the corner to get to the hash marks before going far post over Pincott's pad to put the Pronghorns up 1-0! 23 seconds later, Shawni Rodeback danced through the Lethbridge defence and deked around Lohues to tie the game at 1-1! 22 seconds after that, Megan Carver beat Lohues to put the Cougars up 2-1 as we saw three goals scored in 45 seconds and in the first 2:42 of the game!

Things settled down for the next ten minutes as the two teams began to play a little defence, but Alli Borrow would draw the Pronghorns even once again when she scored at 13:39 to make it 2-2! The defensive game would return after that goal as the horn drew an incredible period closed with the teams tied at 2-2 and Mount Royal holding just a 6-5 edge in shots!

The second period went entirely in one team's favor. On their only power-play of the period, Shawni Rodeback scored her second of the game at 2:56 to make it a 3-2 game. MRU would kill off a penalty, and they would use that momentum to add to the score. Morgan Ramsey would find her way down to the crease where she'd jam home a puck underneath Lohues at 9:49 to make it a 4-2 lead for the Cougars! Mount Royal would get a few more chances in the second-half of the period, but we'd move to the third period with the Cougars holding that two-goal lead!

Mount Royal would salt this game midway through the third period when Anna Purschke scored at 11:17, and Breanne Trotter would score 1:20 later to make it 6-2 as this game would finish at that score as the Mount Royal Cougars sweep the weekend with the 6-2 victory! Emma Pincott made nine saves for her second win of the season while Jessica Lohues stopped 18 shots in the loss.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Alberta
19-5-4-0
65 75 24
W7
BYE
Manitoba
16-5-4-3
59 81 44
L1
BYE
British Columbia
14-5-4-5
55 61 35
W3
vs REG
Saskatchewan
11-10-5-2
45 46 43
W1
vs MRU
Mount Royal
11-14-1-2
37 51 63
W3
@ SAS
Regina
9-14-2-3
34 45 74
L2
@ UBC
Lethbridge
6-17-1-4
24 33 71
L8
OUT
Calgary
4-20-1-3
17 32 70
L4
OUT
NOTE: Teams in yellow and italicized have clinched a playoff spot.

The Last Word

The regular season is done. The playoff match-ups are set. Here's how your Canada West playoff picture looks through the quarterfinals and semifinals.
All series are best-of-three in Canada West, and all three games in the quarterfinals will be played in Vancouver and Saskatoon due to the distance between the teams. That won't help Regina as they're 0-2 in BC and 0-3-1 overall against UBC.

Mount Royal might be the scariest team in the playoffs as they're 1-1 in Saskatchewan and 2-2-0 versus the Huskies this season. Saskatchewan will need to be ready for a Mount Royal team who seems ready to make some noise if given the chance.

The highest seed who advances from these two series will travel to Manitoba in two weekends to meet the Bisons while the lowest seed still alive will head to Alberta for a series against the Pandas.

One last thing that I want to point out: a special congratulations to UBC's Logan Boyd who will graduate this season after setting the new Canada West record for games played in a career. Boyd played 140 games in her career - the full 28 games in each of her five seasons - to set a mark that will only be equaled unless the season is made longer! Congratulations, Logan, on your amazing durability in playing every regular-season game in your career! That's awesome!

If you're near the University of British Columbia or the University of Saskatchewan, head down to the campus this weekend for some incredible hockey action as the Canada West women's hockey playoffs get started!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 9 February 2019

A Decade In The Making

For years, we've been told that expansion teams aren't supposed to do well. They're filled with cast-offs, with the unwanted players from other teams, and with players who haven't been given a shot. Expansion teams simply aren't supposed to show up and win, but we learned last season that the Vegas Golden Knights took that narrative and destroyed it. So what happens when one has to build a team from scratch? Well, it seems that narrative is also false as the University of New Brunswick Red women's team has shown all sorts of competitiveness in their first campaign after being unceremoniously dropped as a varsity-level sport.

A large number of people I've spoken to had no idea that this was UNB's first campaign nor were they aware that they had had their team disbanded a decade ago. While I get that U SPORTS women's hockey barely gets a mention in most local markets and nary a word on national sports networks, the UNB Reds made a splash this season when they hit the ice for their first AUS game in ten years, and they've played extremely well all season long!

Sportsnet did a spotlight feature on today's Hockey Day in Canada broadcast about the woman who spearheaded the campaign to bring hockey back to UNB. I know of Sylvia Bryson due to her work in helping the team return, but Sportsnet did a really great job in presenting this story. Please watch below as we get some better insight into how UNB's women's hockey program was demoted from varsity status and how Miss Bryson fought to keep the team she loved from fading into history.
I'm happy that Sylvia Bryson's efforts are being recognized by Sportsnet because she really did amazing work in getting the program for which she gave her blood, sweat, and tears back to the highest level of hockey in Atlantic Canada. And while I can't fault the University of New Brunswick for trying to improve its bottom line by cutting sports - an often unnecessary expense for schools - it does seem a little off that women's hockey had to be sacrificed while men's hockey was allowed to continue and thrive.

Nevertheless, Bryson's efforts have not only brought women's hockey back to UNB, but the program, in its first season, is showing immediate dividends. They sit in fourth-place tonight with a 13-11-4 record for 30 points, have qualified for the AUS playoffs, will likely play U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship host UPEI in the quarterfinals, and is 3-1-0 this season against UPEI! Could we see UNB in the semi-finals? It seems likely if we go by the season series record, and that would mean a meeting with one of the top-two teams in St. Thomas or St. Francis-Xavier. UNB's records against those two? 1-2-1 against either team!

Look, no one is looking beyond Game One of the quarterfinal series against UPEI. UPEI does have a chance to host this series if they win on Sunday against StFX after beating UNB today. However, given the success that UNB had on UPEI ice - 2-0-0 - one has to be excited at how UNB's first postseason may go after a decade of having nothing for which to be excited.

For those who are sitting at home thinking that it's only a matter of time before the economics of hockey catch up to this team again, there is a statistic I haven't mentioned that should be noted.
If you build it, they will come. If you rebuild it, they'll come back. Like the fans of the Winnipeg Jets, there's a different feeling at UNB women's hockey games from what I've been told - an appreciation of holding on to what you have rather than simply taking the existence of the team for granted.

Based on the attendance totals, fan reactions, and the success of the team on the ice this season, it has to be encouraging to see this program doing as well as it is in its first season back under the bright lights. The UNB Red men's team is always a perennial powerhouse and contender for the U SPORTS National Championship. If the women have anything to say about it, UNB will be known for two nationally-recognized hockey programs.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 8 February 2019

A Strike In Hockey?

Allow me to introduce this young man to you. His name is Joey Abate, he's 20 years-old, and he's committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He's currently playing for the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms, but he's also spent time with the Bloomington Thunder, the Omaha Lancers, and the NAHL's Janesville Jets. The Bloomingdale, Illinois native's path through hockey isn't your normal path, but it's one that he's forging as a hard-working, blue-collar player. As much as I like talking about hard-working, blue-collar players on this blog, there's another reason Joey Abate is getting a little bit of the spotlight today.

If you've been following the Carolina Hurricanes this year, you know they do post-game celebrations that the fans seem to love. As long as your name isn't Brian Burke, these post-game celebrations are fun for both the players and fans, and the vast majority of fans at Hurricanes games seem to stick around after wins to see what the team will do next.

Joey Abate and the Youngstown Phantoms appear to be rivaling the Hurricanes with this excellent post-game victory celebration.
How awesome is that celebration? The full strike delivered via the bowling-ball helmet is fun for the whole team, and it seems the fans who were paying attention were appreciative of the celebration as they cheered for Abate's strike.

There's nothing wrong with a little fun. The players like it, the fans like it, and the media seem to enjoy talking about it. Well, almost all media as Sportsnet's Brian Burke hates the post-game celebration. But leaving aside the opinion of one man whose beliefs seem to be stuck in a different era, I see no problem with the celebrations being down by Carolina, Youngstown, or by any other team.

This game is supposed to be fun. Let's keep it that way.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 7 February 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 333

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns tonight to discuss all matters of hockey from the past week! It was a busy week around these parts with the 2019 Female World Sport School Challenge playing out at the BellMTS IcePlex, the Bisons women's hockey team was hosting the UBC Thunderbirds while the men were in Vancouver, and the Jets played against the Sharks. There was some craziness on the east coast when it came to hockey and it needs to be discussed because what sparked the brawl should never happen anywhere. Beans and I welcome back our friend from The Manitoban in Jason Pchajek to the show tonight!

Tonight, Beans, Jason, and I will take a look at the Leafs signing some marginal, fourth-line player to an absurd contract and how that affects the remaining young'uns who are approaching restricted free agency. We'll discuss the brawl in the AUS and what triggered it as we delve into a more serious subject, look at the final week of the Canada West season and what lies ahead for one of the two hockey teams who play out of Wayne Fleming Arena, get an update on the new roommate next season at Wayne Fleming Arena and how that's going, recap the 2019 Female World Sport School Challenge, discuss the players named to the Team Manitoba teams heading to the 2019 National Aboriginal Hockey Championship in Whitehorse in May, break down why Eugene Melnyk's plans for the Senators might be the signs of early on-set dementia, and set up the Jets and Canadiens tonight with a little Patrik Laine chatter in there. There's a lot to cover tonight, so make sure you're settled in at 5:30pm on UMFM for the show!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz, Beans, and Jason Pchajek discuss insane money, huge brawls, last games, new tenants, big tournament wins, good teams, crazy owners, dejected superstars, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: February 7, 2019: Episode 333

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!